Combat roles in the military are getting an infusion of estrogen.
Starting Monday, the Pentagon will open more than 14,000 combat-related roles to women serving in the Army. Female soldiers had been excluded from those jobs until now.
Advocates pushed for a change in policy, arguing that in wars without true front lines, many women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan have spent the last decade in combat, same as their male cohorts. Women have risked their lives throughout those wars by serving in patrols, and risky military police and security units.
Lt. Dawn Halfaker told CBS News that despite being officially barred from fighting, she spent five months in 2004 operating side-by-side with infantry.
"We used a lot of the same weapons," she said. "We used a lot of the same weapons."
Just like her male counterparts, service came with a price for Halfaker, who lost her right arm when her Humvee was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade.
The Pentagon says that 144 women have been killed in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, while 853 have been wounded.
The Department of Defense plans to assess the new policy in six months.
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